Disgraced U.S. billionaire and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein was found semi-conscious and lying in the fetal position in his New York City jail cell with injuries to his neck on Wednesday night, NBC News reports. Epstein is charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking. Sources told the Post that Epstein was also found with injuries to his neck and may have tried to hurt himself in an effort to get transferred to a different jail.
With Epstein's current charges, he could serve up to 45 years in jail if found guilty. Epstein's lawyers had argued that he should instead be under house arrest and had even offered to pledge a part of the financier's fortune - at least $559 million - as collateral.
The US Bureau of Prisons issued a statement saying that Epstein was, as of noon local time (16:00 GMT), at New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center and "not in a local hospital as has been reported".
Federal prosecutors have also subpoenaed Epstein's personal pilots, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal on July 26. NBC News reported that investigators have questioned another inmate, Nicholas Tartaglione, a former police officer accused of a quadruple homicide.
A source said: "Some of these girls have waited nearly 20 years to see Epstein in court". Others believe he was spared in 2008 by high-ranking officials in the administration of former USA president George W. Bush so as not to cause embarrassment for the royal family of Great Britain given the proximity of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, to Epstein and his teenage "recruits".
In denying him bail, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan said the government had shown by clear and convincing evidence that Epstein would pose a danger to the community if released pending trial.
Epstein, who is now awaiting trial, was denied bail of $100 million.
According to prosecutors, Epstein abused dozens of underaged girls between 2002 and 2005 at the Manhattan mansion and his Palm Beach, Fla., estate.
Epstein's lawyers said he has not had any illicit contact with underage girls since serving his sentence in Florida. His work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, ESPN.com, FOXSports.com, CBSSports.com and many others.
US Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta resigned this month after coming under fire for overseeing that deal when he was US attorney in Miami.
June 2008: Epstein is sentenced to 13 months in prison - a private wing of a county jail.